German 14 - Das gleiche vs. das Gleiche vs. dasselbe

das gleiche... / das Gleiche / dasselbe

Welcome to a subject where even German people make mistakes. XD

And yet it is so easy...

You have met already das gleiche and das Gleiche both meaning the same.

But have you wondered why sometimes it is spelled with a capital letter, at other times not ?

Here is the answer:

When gleich is an adjective it doesn't take a capital, like all the other adjectives.

der kleine Mann - the little man

der gleiche Mann - the same man

If you leave the noun (here: Mann) out,Gleiche becomes the noun and therefore acquires the right to a capital.

der gleiche Mann - the same man

der Gleiche - the same (one)

Alles klar? (everything clear?)

Let's move a step on: dasselbe (always spelled like this) means - Oh you will be surprised...

the same

So what the heck ...

das Gleiche is a similar one. If I say:

Ich habe das gleiche Telefon wie du. - (I have the same phone as you)

I mean that I have a phone of the same brand.

Ich trage das gleiche T-Shirt wie er. (I wear the same T-shirt as he.

We have a similar looking T-shirt, maybe of the same colour or of the same brand...

Ich trage dasselbe T-Shirt wie er. (I wear the same T-shirt as he.)

We have just one T-shirt between us. Maybe I wear it on Mondays, he wears it on Tuesdays...

Ich esse das Gleiche wie gestern. (I eat the same as yesterday.)

I cooked the same dish again.

Ich esse dasselbe wie gestern. (I eat the same food as yesterday.

I am having leftovers.

That's it. In an ideal world this would be it. But here we have to do with a common mistake done by native German speakers. They tend to treat both terms as synonymous. Be patient with them. Forgive their little shortcomings and speak correctly yourself.:D